In late September and early October, we give special thanks for God’s blessings on two different occasions – Harvest Festival and National Thanksgiving. The first of these, on Sunday September 29th, is an occasion to give thanks for God’s bounty to us, as we contemplate the abundance in our farmers’ markets and supermarkets. It’s a time to stop and think that these good things do not appear by magic.
One of our harvest hymns includes these words: “For the ploughing, sowing, reaping, silent growth while we were sleeping …” Farmers – including many migrant workers – did the ploughing, sowing, and reaping, but the silent growth was the work of God’s Creation, Stop and think – none of us really understand how the crops grow. We know that sunshine, rain, and fertile soil are needed, and that we are exceptionally blessed with these in Canada. We rarely have to worry about the crop failures that people in other countries must contend with.
We give thanks again a couple of weeks later when we celebrate National Thanksgiving. Too often, we take for granted the freedoms we Canadians enjoy – freedoms of speech, assembly, the press, religion, to name a few. Again, we are uncommonly fortunate. I see this when I look at other countries where the rule of law is applied unevenly or is non-existent. As I write, the people of Hong Kong have been in the streets for three months, often in pouring rain, to demand that their rights to a fair trial be protected. Perhaps we should feel rather ashamed when we take our own good fortune so much for granted.
These days, talk of scarcity is a common thread in church life. This parish is hardly flush with money. But think of the abundance and the blessing that the diocese has given us by subsidizing my salary. Without that blessing we would be hard-pressed indeed.
In his second letter to the church he had founded in Corinth, Paul called on his people to help the Christians in the Jerusalem church. He asked them to give not reluctantly or under compulsion. I see generosity at work every week as we collect food for the hungry at St. Matthew’s House. But right now, there is a special need to help the people of the Bahamas, after the devastating hurricane Dorian. PWRDF (Primates World Relief and Development Fund) is our own Canadian Anglican relief organization. They have pledged to help the people of the Bahamas. But they need our help, too.
Let’s each make support of PWRDF part of our harvest of God’s blessing to us this season. Would you consider a gift equal to your weekly donation to St. George’s? Any amount ear-marked for PWRDF qualifies for tax receipts from St. George’s. Let’s work together to help this worthwhile endeavour.
Your brother in Christ,